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Drink and drug use falling in teens

18th July 2008

Figures from a new national survey have shown that the rates of drug taking, smoking and drinking are falling among young people.

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The NHS Information Centre surveyed 8,000 young people aged 11 and 15 and found that in 2007, 25% of them had tried drugs. This compared to 29% in 2001.

Those who had never drunk alcohol rose to 46% in 2007, up from 39% in 2003.

However, it also indicated that out of just over three million people in that age bracket in the UK, some 640,000 were likely to have drunk alcohol in the past seven days and 300,000 were likely to have taken drugs.

Teenage smoking also fell, from 53% in 1982 to 33% last year and while 6% of school age children said they smoked at least once a week, that is lower than it has been since figures were first collated.

The NHS IC data founded that 17% of pupils in 2007 had taken drugs in the past year, with cannabis the most common substance used followed by sniffing glue, gas, aerosols or solvents.

The Department of Health said that £30m had been spent in the past five years providing “friendly, confidential advice” to young people about illegal drugs.

It also felt that the figures showed messages about the dangers of smoking are getting through to young people.

But Liberal Democrat Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said: “While the fall in children experimenting with drugs is welcome, the percentage of children trying drugs is still shockingly high.”

 

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